New Delhi: Energy efficiency and protection of the environment will remain at the heart of India’s development goals even as Asia’s third largest economy tries to improve living standards and ensure access to electricity for all, power and renewable energy minister R.K. Singh said on Tuesday.
Addressing delegates at a conference organized by Mint on energy efficiency titled “Transformation Agenda 2020", the minister said that while enhancing access to energy and raising per capita consumption of energy were priorities, India will play a responsible and global leadership role in ensuring that future generations inherit a healthier environment.
The government’s economic development agenda will result in per capita consumption of energy going up by about three times from 1,200 units at present by 2025-2030, which will also result in an increase in installed power generation capacity. “We need development to bring people out of poverty. Every country has a right to develop and we shall develop. But at the same time, we have a responsibility and we are conscious about it. It is this consciousness that drives us to embrace energy efficiency and to scale up renewable energy capacity," said the minister.
Singh also expressed confidence that India will achieve about 200 gigawatts (GW) renewable energy capacity before 2022, exceeding the target of 175GW.
The minister said the potential of energy efficiency in cutting down avoidable consumption was immense. India is on a massive drive to replace incandescent bulbs with light emitting diode (LED) bulbs and is installing LED street lights. Singh said that India has already replaced over 5 million street lights with LED bulbs out of a target for replacing 13.4 million street lights.
Singh also said that there is huge potential for energy efficiency in the housing sector which accounts for about a third of the total energy consumption.
India has made a commitment to contribute to global efforts to cut down carbon emissions. In October 2015 just before the Paris Climate Agreement, New Delhi announced its climate goals—or intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs)š—pledging to reduce the emissions intensity of its gross domestic product (GDP) by 33-35% by 2030 from 2005 levels, and achieve 40% of its cumulative electric power of around 350GW installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources.
Energy efficiency is central to India’s INDCs which state that the nation would aim to promote energy efficiency in the economy, notably in industry, transportation, buildings and appliances.
For instance, about 144 old thermal stations have been assigned mandatory targets for improving energy efficiency.